Bad customer experiences cost businesses $200 billion-plus annually

Consumer sentiment in November declined to its lowest level since July.
A poor in-store experience can have a major cost impact on a business.

A poor in-store experience can have a major cost impact on a business.

Although consumers are more likely to respond to a positive experience, negative experiences could potentially cost North American businesses more than $200 billion every year, according to a new survey by Steritech of 3,000 North American adults, which revealed the potential costs of a positive or negative customer experience for food and retail brands.  

The findings identified what factors consumers value most and how their experience can influence behaviors. Top-level findings include:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents say that they expect a brand to provide the same experience from one store to the next.
  • One in four consumers will visit a brand less frequently after one bad experience; conversely, more than half (59%) will visit a location more frequently after a positive experience.
  • 52% of respondents believe online reviews give an accurate representation of an establishment.
  • Consumers are more likely to post an online review about a positive experience (29%) than a negative one (23%).

The survey was commissioned by Steritech, and revealed what customers expect from the convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets they visit daily, and how they react if their expectations are not met. 

"Consumer experiences over the past few years have shifted as a result of world events, and with that comes the expectation of a seamless and consistent customer experience supported by strong brand values,” said Doug Sutton, president at Steritech, a leader in food safety and operational assessments. “This study highlights the value of a positive interaction in a store which could lead to a happy customer and a supportive online review or social post that benefits the business, but the opposite can cause damage too, so the importance of getting it right every time is crucial.”

As the digital age continues to evolve, digital channels have become a popular method for consumers to amplify their experiences, both good and bad, the report noted. Today's buyers can broadcast their experiences to wider audiences with a simple click of a button. To access the full study go to, steritech.com/knowledge-center.

The survey demonstrates the importance of well-rounded experiences, curated for different types of stores, and the impact these experiences have on customer loyalty. To reap the rewards of increased sales, customer loyalty and brand perception, retailers would be well-served to focus on crafting experiences that meet and exceed their customers' expectations. 

[Read More: Survey: Bad customer experience kills brand loyalty quickly]

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